By Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – It was a great start for the Tennessee Tech softball team last weekend as the Golden Eagles went 4-1 at the Mercer Invitational, opening the year with its best five-game start since going 5-0 en route to a 15-0 start in the 1997 campaign.
As Tech travels down to the Chattanooga Challenge this weekend, taking on Indiana State, Bowling Green, Western Kentucky, Marshall and the tournament-hosting Mocs, the Golden Eagles will be tested.
It all starts for Tech at 10 a.m. Central on Friday as the Golden Eagles take on the Sycamores, then the Falcons at 12:30 p.m. CT. Saturday sees action against the Hilltoppers at 10 a.m., then the Thundering Herd at 3 p.m. Sunday's single game at Chattanooga is slated for an 11:30 a.m. start.
All times and dates are subject to change and weather permitting.
Indiana State opened the season last week at the Florida Atlantic First Pitch Classic, going 2-2 with wins over No. 25 Wisconsin (2-1) and Northern Illinois (4-1), while falling to Bethune-Cookman (2-0) and Purdue (8-7).
Becky Gibbs led the team in RBI as she collected four of the team's 11 on the weekend with a .231 average. TeAnn Bringle had the best average, getting five hits in 12 at-bats for a .417 clip. Cassie Thomerson and Grace Hunger each went yard with homers for their lone hits thus far.
Lexi Benko (1-0, 1.40 ERA, 1 K) and Gabbi Schnaiter (1-0, 3.39 ERA, 10 Ks) picked up the victories last week for the Sycamores.
This weekend is the first action of the season for Bowling Green, who finished 22-29 last season and 7-14 in the Mid-American Conference. Top hitter Madi McCoy returns for her senior campaign after posting a .324 average with nine home runs and 31 RBI a year ago. The Falcons' returning pitchers – Hannah Davies and Madison French – worked a combined 18 1/3 innings last season.
Western Kentucky opened up its season with a 3-2 performance at the Trojan Classic in Troy, Ala. The Hilltoppers defeated College of Charleston (7-3), host Troy (3-2) and North Florida (3-0), but fell to Lipscomb (3-2) and the first game against the Ospreys (3-1).
Taylor Davis leads WKU at the plate with a .500 average and three RBI, while Paige Carter has driven in four runs. Pitcher Shelby Nunn has collected two wins in her four appearances, holding on to an unblemished ERA with one unearned run credited to her. Kelsey Aikey (0.98 ERA, 1-1) leads the team in strikeouts with 21 in three appearances.
Marshall went 2-1 at the USC Upstate Classic, dropping its first game 5-4 to St. Francis, but the Thundering Herd rebounded with a 9-4 win over Bucknell and a 5-3 win over the tournament host.
The team has three players with four runs driven in with Sierra Huerta, Katie Adams and Saige Pye leading the way. Huerta hit three home runs and leads the team with a .556 batting average. Laney Jones has a 2-0 record with a 2.74 ERA and nine strikeouts so far this season.
Chattanooga went 1-1 last weekend, splitting action with Austin Peay as the Mocs took the first game 9-1, then the Govs were victorious 4-1. Chattanooga had three players bat .500 on the weekend as Hayleigh Weissenbach, Morgan Kazerooni and Katie Corum led the way. Celie Hudson (1.40 ERA, 6 Ks) earned the victory, while Allison Swinford (4.67 ERA, 5 Ks) took the loss.
In Tech's games last week, Raleigh Lewis led the way en route to the Ohio Valley Conference's Player of the Week honor as she drove in nine, collected four home runs and scored six times. In addition to Lewis, KaDedra Temple, Jessie Lowery, Nicolle Nysted and Sydney Love-Baker are all hitting above .400 after the first week of play.
Follow along with the Tech softball team on Twitter at @TTU_Softball and online at TTUsports.com.
Photo | Alex Keller, Mercer Athletics